iPhone 13 screen repairs will break key feature unless done by Apple

Face ID ceases to function after third-party screen swaps

Face ID
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

New info has just surfaced regarding the iPhone 13, which suggests that Apple is stopping the use of Face ID on devices with a third-party screen replacement.

This also extends to display components that originate from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which seems brutal considering that iPhone screens are notorious for cracking and breaking when unprotected and accidentally dropped.

Let's be clear here, though: Apple has never been a fan of third-party repair operations, even going so far as to use proprietary screws all the way back in 2011 to deter the practice. But this latest bit of news appears to be an escalation in Apple's methods of countering third-party screen repairs, now seemingly killing off Face ID on your device if the display is swapped.

Phone Repair Guru posted the findings in an online video, which was spotted via MacRumors, and features displays on two iPhone 13 phones being swapped. As can be seen from the video, despite the displays being original Apple components, the iPhone 13’s Face ID feature will not work if the phone’s display is replaced. There doesn't appear to be a workaround here, either: Face ID couldn't be re-activated, which suggests that the display on the iPhone 13 lineup is serial-locked to the device. Oops. 

Facing the prospect of no Face ID

If Apple's apparent methods feel like they could be erring on the tyrannical side, then we'd be inclined to agree, should it indeed be the case that Apple is prohibiting its facial-authentication feature when screens are swapped out by parties other than itself. Even with Apple's track record of trying to keep its customers away from third-party repair shops, it does seem overkill to stop one of the best iPhone's integral authentication features from working if someone opts for an external screen repair.

Hopefully, other internet speculation around the Face ID issue is closer to the truth. Rumor has it that the Face ID saga is a bug that Apple plans to fix in a future iOS release, so we're optimistic that it's just a temporary problem, as opposed to a longer-term assault on the third-party repair sector. Fingers crossed that this is the case.

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for T3.com, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.